In yet another attack in Bangladesh, Hindu priest killed

Unidentified assailants on Tuesday shot and hacked to death a Hindu priest in Jhenaidah in southwestern Bangladesh in an attack that bore the hallmarks of the recent murders of activists and writers in the country.

Ananda Gopal Ganguly, the 70 year-old victim, was riding a bicycle to Naldanga Bazar to perform puja when he was attacked by three men who came on a motorcycle carrying sharp weapons, local police said.

Farmers discovered Mr. Ganguly’s body in a rice field near his home in the village of Naldanga. The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the murder.

In January this year, a local homeopath Samir Ali, who had converted into Christianity, was found murdered in Jhenaidah.

In the last two days, two other people have been killed in a similar manner. The wife of a senior police officer, who was involved in counter-terrorism, was stabbed and shot in the head in the port city of Chittagong. A Christian grocer was killed in northern Natore.

Bangladesh has seen a rise in suspected Islamist attacks in the last two years targeting bloggers, online activists, secular intellectuals, and members of religious minorities. The IS and the al Qaeda have reportedly claimed responsibility for many of these attacks, though the government has kept denying any “organisational presence” of such terrorist groups in the country.

Government crackdown

Meanwhile, Bangladesh police on Tuesday launched a deadly crackdown on Islamist militants.

As a government Minister tried to portray the recent attacks as part of a conspiracy involving Israel’s Mossad spy agency, security forces waged gun battles with members of a home-grown jihadist group.

Two “high-ranking” members of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) were shot dead in a battle in Dhaka and another was killed in a northwestern district, police told AFP.

The two JMB members killed in the capital had roles “in most of the recent attacks” including the bombing of a Shia mosque and the murder of a liberal professor, said deputy commissioner of police M.R. Khaled.

‘International conspiracy’

Speaking to AFP on Tuesday, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan again linked the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party to the attacks, saying they were part of a wider conspiracy that also involved Mossad.

“These killings are part of a national and international conspiracy. Those who are carrying out these incidents are communicating with Mossad,” Mr. Khan said.

A senior BNP official was charged with sedition last month for allegedly plotting against the state when he met an Israeli government adviser.

Amnesty International on Tuesday demanded "a prompt, thorough, impartial and transparent investigation" into the recent killings, adding that the government must “protect those still under threat”. “In the current climate of impunity, increasing numbers of people have reported facing threats that the authorities have repeatedly failed to address,” the group's statement said.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 4:08:40 PM |

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